Tennis trailblazer Serena Williams is frustrated with The New York Times after the veteran publication erroneously used a photo of her older sister Venus when it printed its business story highlighting the more than $100 million the 23-time Grand Slam winner raised for her new venture capital fund.
“No matter how far we come, we get reminded that it’s not enough,” the sporting legend wrote on Twitter early Wednesday morning on March 2. “This is why I raised $111M for @serenaventures,” the 41-year-old remarked. “To support the founders who are overlooked by engrained systems woefully unaware of their biases. Because even I am overlooked. You can do better, @nytimes.”
The official Twitter page for NYT Business quickly apologized for the blunder, writing, “This was our mistake. It was due to an error when selecting photos for the print edition, and it did not appear online. A correction will appear in tomorrow’s paper.”
However, the statement from the 170-year-old newspaper didn’t appear to suffice for critics online, including one user who wrote, “Holy stating the obvious, Batman. An “error” that was missed by how many eyes on the way to final print and before distribution?” They added, “From journalist to distribution, how many Black people had a hand in producing this piece? My guess is 0. There lies your problem.”
Political strategist Aisha C. Mills commented, “What a piss poor response,” before noting that “The error in ‘selecting photos’ is that your systems think all Black people look alike. Own up to THAT.” She added,” Biased algorithms, racial ignorance, and lazy editors. That’s how this happened.”
Williams launched her own venture capital firm Serena Ventures, in 2014, which focuses on early-stage companies, especially Black-owned ventures. So far, Serena Ventures has invested in 50+ early-stage start-ups.
“When I’m talking about Serena Ventures, we invest in women, we invest in people of color, that’s our thing,” Williams told Forbes. “Sixty-eight percent or 70 percent of our portfolio are companies founded by women or people of color.”
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